Ruth

Ruth 4:1-10 – Love finds a way

Ruth 4v1-10

 

LOVE FINDS A WAY!

Introduction.

ILLUS.:  “Stories for the Heart” p.117 – READ.

Love – real love / true love looks beyond the external / beyond looks / beyond circumstances and sees the heart. We are not told whether or not Ruth was physically beautiful BUT we are told that she was a virtuous woman.

Boaz speaking — Ruth 3:11 11  All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. (NIV)

We live in a world where character is not nearly as highly valued as it once was – 50 years ago when a person applied for a new job the prospective employer required a character reference. Was this person honest / upright / moral … NOW the concern is about their potential to boost company profits.

However from God’s perspective character is of infinitely more value than looks / abilities / status, that is why we read of God’s choosing of David as Israel’s future king “People look at outward appearance but God looks at the heart” [1 Samuel 16:7]

That is what John Blanchard saw in Hollis Maynell even though they had never met face to face.

It was this that Boaz saw in Ruth – a woman of noble character. What we are on the inside is what we are!

 

When we left the story last time Boaz had promised Ruth that he would redeem her. You remember that Boaz was related to Naomi’s late husband Elimelech. Ruth, a Moabite, had married Mahlon, Elimelech’s and Naomi’s son. The law in Israel was that if a man died leaving a wife with not son the closest male relative had an obligation to marry her so that the deceased man and property may continue in his name. The purpose of these laws was to preserve the name and protect the property of families in Israel.

God owned the land and didn’t want it exploited by rich people who would take advantage of poor people and widows. God hasn’t changed and he will hold to account those in positions of affluence and power who exploit and disadvantage others – whether it is individuals, companies or nations. One of the reasons why God punished Israel and sent them into exile was because the rich and powerful abused the land stealing it from the rich and powerful.

 

Boaz was not the nearest relative but at Ruth request he agreed to act as kinsman-redeemer. How much Naomi was match making behind the scene we simply don’t know? What we do know is that Boaz was willing to redeem Ruth – to love her and bring her into his family.

1. Meaning /Purpose of Redemption.

What is the meaning and purpose of redemption? The word means to set ‘free by paying a price’. It was the language of the slave markets – If a slave was to be set free and before a Freed-man someone had to buy him/her and grant them their freedom – they were thus redeemed!

It is the language of the Porn-broker’s shop – if you have porned a gold bracelet and you want it back you must pay a price to ‘redeem it’

In the case of Naomi and Ruth the land that was originally owned by Elimelech was past to Mahlon when his father died but now that he too had died the land would pass to a son born to his widow, in this case Ruth. At some point the land must have been sold or mortgage and it needed to be redeemed – but Ruth and Naomi were too poor to redeem the land themselves and so they needed a kinsman-redeemer. However the redemption price that Boaz was willing to pay was not just about land but also people. Ruth and Naomi needed redemption but did not have the ware-with-all to redeem themselves.

 

When it comes to the spiritual realm all people need redemption – but we like Ruth and Naomi do not have the ware-with-all to redeem ourselves. Spiritually all people are poor and destitute – in fact the bible tells us that we are spiritually dead –  Ephesians 2:1-2           1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, [the devil]…..

Another way of putting it is that we are slaves to sin – and need to be freed – John 8:34 Jesus .., “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

We tend not to think of ourselves in bondage / slavery – if we tell people they are slaves they will say “Don’t be ridiculous – I am free I can do as I please!!” But that is just it – doing as I please / self-pleasing means that I have ignored God and consider myself to be the master of my own destiny — but that is precisely the essence of sin from which we need redemption if we are to come into the family of God. Like Ruth was going to come into the family of Boaz!!

It is Jesus who came to free us and bring us into God’s family — Mark 10:45 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV)

John 1:12 12 .. to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — (NIV)

 

2. Marks/ Peculiarities of a Redeemer.

Boaz was not the only man in Bethlehem – what marks him out as the one who actually fulfils the role of kinsman-redeemer?

There are three marks of a Redeemer:-

1st – he had to be related. Now Boaz was related but he was not the nearest relative – an obstacle he had to overcome and we will see in a moment how he did that.

Again here we see a picture of Christ. He had to become related to us before he could redeem us.

John 1:14  The Word [Jesus Christ] became flesh [he took human form – Phil.2] and made his dwelling among us. …

 

Hebrews 2:14-15           14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (NIV)

 

He became human – the creator became a creature to rescue the creatures he created from the mess they had got themselves into. He became part of our human family so that we humans could become part of God’s family!!

 

2nd – The kinsman-redeemer had to be able to pay the redemption price – he had to possess the resources. Ruth had no resources of her own. Boaz on the other hand had the means to redeem!

When it comes to the redemption of humanity no one but God himself in the person of Christ has the necessary mean to redeem. And it was no money that was needed. Peter expresses it this way in his letter – 1 Peter 1:18-19 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (NIV)

Titus 2:14 14 {JESUS} gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, …. (NIV)

 

3rd – Being related and having resources was not enough – there had to be a willingness to act. As we will see in a moment the nearer kinsman had the money but was unwilling.

Jesus wasn’t forced to be our redeemer as if was an unwilling victim of a vindictive heavenly Father on the contrary Jesus says – John 10:15-18 15 …. — and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 ….. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. 18 No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. …..” (NIV)

 

 

3. Method/ Process of redemption.

 

We read the account of how Boaz negotiates with the other kinsman – one commentator calls him the ‘barefoot’ kinsman because he had to take off his sandal. [vv.7-8]

In the Ancient Near East all business and judicial affairs were settled at the city gate in the presence of the elders of the city. Usually around 10 men. This is quite probably the basis for the jury system of justice in many countries.

Boaz goes to the gate – gathers the elders of the city and summons the nearer kinsman.

 

Boaz now puts the proposal to the nearer-kinsman. “Will he act as “goel” [redeemer] to buy back land and assume levirate responsibilities for the widow?”

  • [‘levir’ – loosely meaning ‘brother-in-law’. The levirate regulates marriage customs when the man of the house dies. The nearest kinsman was to marry the widow and have children for his brother to perpetuate his name and his property]

 

We can assume that this nearer-kinsman realises that Naomi is beyond childbearing so if he redeems the land and get Naomi into the bargain there will be no heir for Elimelech and thus the land will become his and his children’s. This is appealing and will boost his estate so he agrees to redeem the land.

 

Now Boaz plays his trump card – as Christians we do not have to be deceitful to be astute business negotiators – Ruth 4:5          5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you acquire the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

 

It is obviously accepted that Ruth who is of childbearing age would replace Naomi in the levirate responsibility of raising children for Elimelech.

The kinsman in now in a predicament which it exactly what Boaz intended.

 

If the kinsman accepts Ruth as part of the deal and she has a son then the son inherits the land belonging to Naomi / Elimelech thus his family lose the money he has laid out to redeem the land! He I unwilling to weaken his own estate. Ruth 4:6 At this, the kinsman-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” (NIV)

 

 

This shows that the redeemer acting in this way did so at personal cost – the redeemer would have to give part of his own inheritance for the sake of another.

This is Boaz – The nearer kinsman was unwilling to risk anything; he failed even to fulfil the Law. Boaz fulfilled the law but went way beyond the law in covenant love for Ruth.

 

The custom of taking off the sandal to secure the agreement probably relates to the divine command to walk on the land to take possession of it –

Genesis 13:17 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (NIV)

Deuteronomy 11:24 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea. (NIV)

Joshua 1:3 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. (NIV)

In the years to come the 10 elders/ witnesses would be able to testify that this transaction had taken place because they saw the kinsman take off his sandal and give it to Boaz.

 

Boaz took the risk of love and his name in written down in honour and we remember it today. The nearer kinsman who was so concern to protect his name and inheritance is nameless!

 

All through this story we have seen that Boaz is a picture of Christ our kinsman redeemer.

Like Boaz,….

  • Jesus was not concerned about jeopardising his own inheritance instead he made us part of his inheritance – Ephesians 1:18 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (NIV)
  • Jesus made plans privately but paid the price publicly
  • Jesus did what he did because of his love for his bride.

 

But there are differences ……

–       Boaz redeemed Ruth out of his wealth: Jesus purchased his bride by giving himself on the cross. Boaz didn’t have to suffer and die to get his bride but Jesus did.

–       To Boaz Ruth was a virtuous and loveable woman – BUT the bible tells us that Jesus die for us while we were still sinners / while we were still enemies of God.

 

There are wonderful stories about love between people and how at great sacrifice obstacles are overcome and they all lived happily ever after. The Story of Ruth and Boaz must rank high on the list. Yet we know that no human love story is ever happy forever because we all die – so love stories always end in sadness!

 

BUT God’s love story between his Son and Bride is one were they all live happily ever after.

God’s love is eternal –when we come to God in repentance and faith in Christ, we are brought into his family it is forever. – Sure in this life there are and will be many obstacles and problems but in the end there will be a heavenly wedding between Christ and the church and we will live happy, contented, trouble free and fulfilled lives forever in a perfect relationship with God.

 

Because God’s love has found a way! A way that cost the Son of God his life – Salvation/redemption that the children of God enjoy is freely given/received BUT it is not secure at no cost – the cost was very great it just wasn’t paid by us – God paid it because he loves us!

 


Ruth 4v1-10

 

LOVE FINDS A WAY!

 

 1.       Meaning /Purpose of Redemption.

 

  • To set ‘free by paying a price’

 

 2.       Marks/ Peculiarities of a Redeemer.

 

  • 1st – he had to be related.

 

  • 2nd –he had to have the resources.

 

  • 3rd –he had to be a willing.

 

 3.       Method/ Process of Redemption.

 

  • Redemption is costly – the cost is borne by the Redeemer not by the redeemed.
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